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Pneumococcal Vaccine

Phone: 410-222-4896

Pneumococcal disease is a serious bacterial disease that causes sickness and death. It can lead to serious infections of the lungs (pneumonia), the blood (bacteremia) and the covering of the brain (meningitis). People with special health problems are even more likely to die from the disease.

Penicillin was once effective in treating these infections, but the disease has become more resistant to these drugs, making treatment of pneumococcal infections more difficult. This makes prevention of the disease through vaccination even more important.

Pneumococcal Vaccine

There are two pneumococcal vaccines currently being manufactured: PPV23 is mostly for adults and PCV13, traditionally for children, has most recently been added to the adult recommendations.

PPV23, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, protects against certain strains of pneumococcal bacteria that cause pneumonia. The vaccine does not protect against pneumonia caused by viruses and any other bacteria.
One dose of PPV23 at age 65 usually provides protection for a lifetime. Adults 65 or older who have been vaccinated with PPV23 should wait 12 months before being vaccinated with the new PCV13.

PPV23 is recommended for the elderly or persons, including children 2 years of age and older, with diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, alcoholism, cirrhosis, cerebrospinal fluid leak or a cochlear implant. PPV23 protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria, including those most likely to cause serious disease.

Other individuals 2 years of age and older who have a disease, condition or medication that lowers the body's resistance to infection should also receive a pneumococcal vaccine. These individuals include those with HIV or AIDS, kidney failure, certain cancers and cancer treatments.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that individuals 19-64 years of age who are cigarette smokers or asthmatics receive a pneumococcal vaccine, PPV23.

For persons with a chronic illness who received a dose before the age of 65, a second dose of vaccine is recommended after the age of 65, as long as 5 years have elapsed since the previous dose. Certain immunocompromised individuals may be eligible for a second dose before age 65. If you are not sure if you should receive the pneumococcal vaccine, contact your physician.

PCV13, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria which are responsible for most severe pneumococcal infections. It is routinely recommended for all children beginning at age 2 months, then at 4 months, 6 months and 12-15 months.

Adults, 65 years or older, are now recommended to receive PCV13 at age 65 or one year after receiving PCV23. Adults age 19 or older with certain health conditions may also be candidates for PCV13.

Is there anything I should know?

Mild side effects, which pass in a day or two, may include: soreness, redness or swelling at the site of the injection, fever, and muscle aches.

Protection begins 2 to 3 weeks after vaccination.

Getting Your Shots

Pneumococcal vaccine (PPV23) shots may be available at Anne Arundel County Department of Health area health centers by appointment. Call the health center nearest you for information.

Parole Health Center 410-222-7247
Glen Burnie Health Center 410-222-6633

For more information regarding the prevention of pneumonia or other vaccine preventable diseases, call the Immunization Services Program at 410-222-4896.

Flu Season
Pneumococcal Shot for Asthmatics and Smokers (PDF)
Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Adults (PDF)